Greek gov’t cautious as NATO gets call for help
Greece is on standby mode as NATO prepares to discuss a joint call from Germany and Turkey for the Atlantic alliance’s involvement in curbing migrant flows in the Aegean.
Greek officials had not been informed of the proposal, which will be discussed during a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels Wednesday and Thursday – a fact confirmed Tuesday by government spokeswoman Olga Gerovasili.
Wary of Turkish assertiveness in the Aegean, Athens received the initiative with caution. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras told German Chancellor Angela Merkel that any NATO involvement should be restricted to the Turkish coast and guarantee Greek sovereign rights. Greece is expected to repeat its position when Defense Minister Panos Kammenos attends the Brussels talks.
Under pressure to do more to control migrants arriving from Turkey, Greece is due to receive a three-month deadline Wednesday, after which it will face suspension from Schengen, the EU’s passport-free travel area.
The European Commission is expected to discuss the issue on Wednesday. A progress report on the operation of Greece’s refugee hot spots, is expected on March 10. Sources told Kathimerini on Tuesday that Greece would be subjected to monthly checks through May when final decisions will be made.